0106-23 NY Times Crossword 6 Jan 23, Friday

Constructed by: Erica Hsiung Wojcik
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 42m 38s!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16 What might roll in the leaves : ACORN

These days, we don’t usually consider acorns (the fruit of the oak tree) as a foodstuff. But in days past, many cultures around the world have used acorns as food. Usually, bitter tannins that occur in acorns need to be leached out in water. Acorn meal can be a substitute for grain flour, which can then be used to make bread. Acorns have also been used as a substitute for coffee, especially when coffee was rationed. Notably, acorn coffee was brewed up by Confederates during the American Civil War, and by Germans during World War II.

18 Surge protector? : LEVEE

A levee is an artificial bank, usually made of earth, that runs along the length of a river. It is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

19 Great work : OPUS

The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”. We sometimes use the plural “opuses” in English, but people do that just to annoy me …

22 Stage that you might enter at night : REM

“REM” is an acronym standing for “rapid eye movement”. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one’s most vivid dreams.

23 Broadband letters : LTE

In the world of telecommunications, the initialism LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution, and is wireless broadband communication standard. In general terms, LTE improves broadband speeds. As I understand it, LTE technology allows a 3G network to perform almost as well as a true 4G network, and so LTE is sometimes marketed as 4G LTE, even though it’s really “3G plus”.

25 Gangs : POSSES

Our word “posse” comes from an Anglo-Latin term from the early 15th century “posse comitatus” meaning “the force of the county”

28 Bird: Prefix : AVI-

The prefix “avi-” means “bird-related” as in “aviculture”, the breeding of birds. “Avis” is Latin for “bird”.

30 Pro with extensions, in brief : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

36 Valuable collection : TREASURE TROVE

The term “treasure trove” comes from the Anglo-French “tresor trové “ meaning “found treasure”.

37 Black ___ : OPS

Black ops are covert operations, activities that are usually outside of standard military protocol and may even be against the law. Funding for black ops is usually provided by a secret “black budget”.

47 Item in Yo-Yo Ma’s right hand : CELLO BOW

Yo-Yo Ma is a “ma-velous” [awful pun!] American cellist who was born in Paris to Chinese parents. Ma started studying the violin when he was very young, working his way up (in size) to the viola and finally to the cello. He has said that he wanted to play the double bass, but it was just too big for his relatively small frame.

52 Where the cattle drive in the western epic “Lonesome Dove” begins : RIO GRANDE

The Rio Grande (Spanish for “big river”) is a waterway that forms part of the border between Mexico and the United States. Although we call the river the Rio Grande on this side of the border, in Mexico it is called the Río Bravo or Río Bravo del Norte (Spanish for “furious river of the north”).

“Lonesome Dove” is a Pulitzer-winning western novel by Larry McMurtry, first published in 1985. The novel was originally written as a screenplay for a feature film that never made it to the screen called “The Streets of Laredo”. The movie fell through because John Wayne pulled out of the project, whereas co-stars James Stewart and Henry Fonda were all set to go.

57 Like Alaska on a U.S. map, often : INSET

The most southerly state in the US is Hawaii, and the most northerly is Alaska. Alaska is also the most westerly state, and believe it or not, it is also the most easterly state. That’s because Alaska’s Aleutian Islands stretch across the 180-degree of longitude into the Eastern Hemisphere.

Down

2 Khaki alternative : TAUPE

Taupe is a dark, gray-brown color. The word “taupe” comes from the Latin name of the European Mole, which has skin with the same color.

“Khaki” is an Urdu word that translates literally as “dusty”. The word was adopted for its current use as the name of a fabric by the British cavalry in India in the mid-1800s.

5 ___ Pippig, three-time winner of the Boston Marathon : UTA

Uta Pippig is a long-distance runner from Germany. Pippig became the first woman to win the Boston Marathon on three consecutive occasions, from 1994 to 1996.

8 Outward attitude : MIEN

One’s mien is one’s bearing or manner. “Mien” shares the same etymological root as our word “demeanor”.

10 Character who’s striped and spotted? : WALDO

The series of children’s illustrated books called “Where’s Waldo?” was originally titled “Where’s Wally?” in Britain, where the books originated. Each book contains page after page of illustrations with crowds of people surrounding famous landmarks from around the world. The challenge is to find Waldo/Wally, who is hidden in the crowd.

11 Causes of some brain freezes : ICEES

Icee and Slurpee are brand names of slushy drinks. Ugh …

13 Breakfast skillet : CREPE PAN

“Crêpe” is the French word for “pancake”.

21 Labor relief, perhaps : EPIDURAL

The epidural space is found between the two layers of the dura mater, the thick membrane that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. The spinal epidural space is often the target for local anesthetics, in a procedure that provides relief from pain during childbirth or surgery.

23 Port ___, capital of Mauritius : LOUIS

The island of Mauritius lies in the Indian Ocean, about 700 miles east of Madagascar. One of Mauritius’ claim to fame is that it was the only place where one could find the renowned flightless bird called a dodo. The dodo became extinct less than a century after it was discovered, due to human settlement on the island.

24 John of “The Big Lebowski” : TURTURRO

Actor John Turturro has played many supporting roles on the big screen in films like “Do the Right Thing”, “Quiz Show”, “The Big Lebowski” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Turturro works with director Spike Lee a lot, and has appeared in more Spike Lee movies than any other actor.

“The Big Lebowski” is a 1998 comedy directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring Jeff Bridges in the title role. The film’s script is loosely based on the Raymond Chandler novel “The Big Sleep”. I thought “The Big Lebowski” was just “okay” though …

27 His dying words were “There is another … Skywalker …” : YODA

Yoda is one of the most beloved characters of the “Star Wars” series of films. Yoda’s voice is provided by the great modern-day puppeteer Frank Oz of “Muppets” fame.

When the character Luke Skywalker was created for “Star Wars”, he was named “Annikin Starkiller”. Conceptually, he was a 60-year-old war veteran for a while, and also a female at one point. Luke is played by actor Mark Hamill in the “Star Wars” films.

33 University in Georgia : EMORY

Emory is a private school in Atlanta, Georgia with a focus on graduate research. The school was named after a Methodist Episcopal bishop called John Emory, who was very popular at the time of the school’s founding in 1836.

35 Arcade game character with a propeller beanie : JR PAC-MAN

The propeller beanie was introduced in drawings in the 1940s by high school student Ray Nelson as an emblem for fans of science fiction. Propeller beanies were embraced by comic strip artists, and eventually turned up on the head of Beany, one of the title characters in the animated cartoon series “Beany and Cecil” aired by ABC in the sixties. It’s this propeller beanie that led to our usage of the somewhat pejorative term “propellerhead” for someone who is technically able or perhaps computer savvy.

36 Word with store or Story : TOY …

1995’s “Toy Story” was the world’s first feature-length computer-animated movie. “Toy Story” was also Pixar’s first production. The main roles in the film are Buzz Lightyear and Woody, who are voiced by Tim Allen and Tom Hanks respectively. Hanks was the first choice to voice Woody, but Allen was asked to voice Buzz after Billy Crystal turned down the role.

41 ___ Greenwich, co-writer of “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and “Da Doo Ron Ron” : ELLIE

Ellie Greenwich was a singer/songwriter whose main songwriting partner was her husband Jeff Barry. The list of songs that Greenwich co-wrote is impressive, including:

  • “Be My Baby”, a 1963 hit for the Ronettes
  • “Da Doo Ron Ron”, a 1963 hit for the Crystals
  • “Leader of the Pack”, a 1964 hit for the Shangri-Las
  • “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”, a 1964 hit for Manfred Mann
  • “River Deep – Mountain High”, a 1966 hit for Ike and Tina Turner

43 Muscly, in modern lingo : SWOLE

“Swole” is an informal term meaning “very muscular”. Yeah, I hear that word all the time …

44 Popular talk show of the 2010s : CONAN

“Conan” was a late-night talk show on TBS that was hosted by Conan O’Brien and aired from 2010 to 2021. “Conan” came about as a result of the so-called “War for Late Night”, when Jay Leno ceded the chair of “The Tonight Show” to “O’Brien” only to launch “The Jay Leno Show” competing on the same network.

48 Eponymous region of northern France : BRIE

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert. Brie is often served baked in puff pastry with fig jam.

51 Title for a guru : SRI

“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

53 Inits. on some food cans : GMO

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is one with genetic material that has been altered by genetic engineering. One might argue that the oldest form of genetic engineering is selective breeding, the use of animals or plants with desired traits for the creation of the next generation.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Remark made after catching someone by surprise : IT’S JUST ME
10 Alt-rock band with the 2001 hit album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” : WILCO
15 Indoor swimming pools : NATATORIA
16 What might roll in the leaves : ACORN
17 Pet dogs and cats, affectionately : FUR BABIES
18 Surge protector? : LEVEE
19 Great work : OPUS
20 Embroiled (in) : KNEE-DEEP
22 Stage that you might enter at night : REM
23 Broadband letters : LTE
25 Gangs : POSSES
27 With 39-Across, answer to the question “Who’s the solver of this puzzle?” : YOU …
28 Bird: Prefix : AVI-
30 Pro with extensions, in brief : CPA
31 Big ticket item? : COURTSIDE SEAT
35 Leading disability rights activist in the 2020 documentary “Crip Camp” : JUDITH HEUMANN
36 Valuable collection : TREASURE TROVE
37 Black ___ : OPS
38 “Get out of here!” : RUN!
39 See 27-Across : … ARE
40 “Get me?,” informally : YA HEAR?
43 Guileful : SLY
44 “Love Island” airer : CBS
47 Item in Yo-Yo Ma’s right hand : CELLO BOW
50 Sound of suffering … or pleasure : MOAN
51 Whiff : SMELL
52 Where the cattle drive in the western epic “Lonesome Dove” begins : RIO GRANDE
55 Consideration when doubling a recipe, perhaps : RATIO
56 “Don’t worry about me” : I’LL MANAGE
57 Like Alaska on a U.S. map, often : INSET
58 Quite a sight : EYE-OPENER

Down

1 Going to get : IN FOR
2 Khaki alternative : TAUPE
3 Use a pick, perhaps : STRUM
4 Punches : JABS
5 ___ Pippig, three-time winner of the Boston Marathon : UTA
6 Word with sister or story : SOB …
7 Ride with a third wheel : TRIKE
8 Outward attitude : MIEN
9 Bed of roses, so to speak : EASE
10 Character who’s striped and spotted? : WALDO
11 Causes of some brain freezes : ICEES
12 Hot take? : LOVE SCENE
13 Breakfast skillet : CREPE PAN
14 What a pointer finger can represent : ONE
21 Labor relief, perhaps : EPIDURAL
23 Port ___, capital of Mauritius : LOUIS
24 John of “The Big Lebowski” : TURTURRO
26 Squelched, with “on” : SAT …
27 His dying words were “There is another … Skywalker …” : YODA
28 Ghostlike, in a way : ASHEN
29 ___ Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer-winning author of “The Sympathizer” : VIET
31 Aids for stage crews : CUE SHEETS
32 Via, informally : THRU
33 University in Georgia : EMORY
34 Hold on to : SAVE
35 Arcade game character with a propeller beanie : JR PAC-MAN
36 Word with store or Story : TOY …
41 ___ Greenwich, co-writer of “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and “Da Doo Ron Ron” : ELLIE
42 Dispense : ALLOT
43 Muscly, in modern lingo : SWOLE
44 Popular talk show of the 2010s : CONAN
45 Achievement indicator : BADGE
46 Show of contempt : SNEER
48 Eponymous region of northern France : BRIE
49 Slick : OILY
50 Thick locks : MANE
51 Title for a guru : SRI
53 Inits. on some food cans : GMO
54 Knock : RAP

12 thoughts on “0106-23 NY Times Crossword 6 Jan 23, Friday”

  1. 17:13. Hard puzzle. Got really bogged down in the middle, as I had no idea who Judith Neumann was and didn’t know several of the crosses either.

  2. 23:12, no errors. Difficult. I had also never heard of Judith Heumann (or Viet Thanh Nguyen). Strangely, though, I got hung up longer in the upper right corner (mostly due to a minor episode of brain freeze).

    Gotta love the constructor’s name. Erica Hsiung Wojcik! One is tempted to say, “Only in America!” … 😜.

    Today’s New Yorker puzzle isn’t the kind of pushover for beginners that they claim to publish on Fridays. Very literate (and clever), though.

  3. 29:17, no errors. I, also, did pretty well in the top and bottom thirds, but the middle third was just nasty. Entering the LIVE SHOOT in 12D before LOVE SCENE didn’t help.

  4. 26:44. Felt more Saturday-ish to me. Same as above – never heard those names before either.

    Where VIET crossed HEUMANN, I just guessed the E because the down name sounded VIETnamese.

    Best –

  5. Where the heck did NATATORIA come from? The Brits have invaded the NYT crossword? 20:50 but needed a hint on the above word. I guessed VIET, too.

  6. @sandra from yesterday- thanks for tip on CATHeter. Didn’t see it.

    No errors today. SWOLE I only see in
    crosswords.

    Never heard of JUDITH HEUMANN either.

    VIET NGUYEN is a recurring crossword name so I remembered him. Otherwise, don’t know him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *